MADRID (Reuters) – Gary Neville’s perfect Christmas gift would be a victory over Getafe on Saturday followed by a welcome break over the festive period, the new Valencia coach said on Friday.
Neville takes charge of his first home La Liga game and is looking for a first win in Spain’s top flight after his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Eibar last weekend.
The former England and Manchester United defender secured his maiden triumph on Wednesday when Valencia beat third-tier Barakaldo 2-0 to qualify for the last 16 of the King’s Cup.
Valencia are eighth in La Liga with 21 points from 15 matches and beating 14th-placed Getafe would lift them to sixth pending Sevilla and Deportivo La Coruna’s games later in the day.
“I want to put on a good performance against Getafe and then a week’s rest will do us all good,” Neville told a news conference.
“I am looking forward to seeing the family although my priority is to prepare for tomorrow’s game and a win would be my best Christmas present.”
Neville was a surprise choice to replace Nuno Espirito Santo after the Portuguese was sacked for failing to find the consistency Valencia’s billionaire owner Peter Lim is seeking.
The former England full back has a contract until the end of the season and the club are still in with a chance of winning the Europa League and King’s Cup.
Neville again hinted Valencia were unlikely to dip into the transfer market in the January window and said the priority was to get a host of injured players fit.
“Sometimes you have injuries and we have to be able to react quickly,” he said.
“It’s always tough to get things right in the January market and the most important thing for me is not to shut the door to those we have in the squad already.
“We have to focus on the players we have and who are performing the best,” added Neville.
“If we think a player can bring something to the team, that’s all well and good, but this obsession about signing someone is something I can’t get used to. I believe we can improve what we already have.”
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Tony Jimenez)